DIY Vintage Button Earrings

I was at my sister Lou’s house recently and, as she’s got a very new little bub, I was helping her make some vintage button earrings for the mother’s day stall at her son’s school.  So effective and so simple!  I went straight home afterward and delved deep in the vintage button stash that I inherited from my husband’s great aunt to find as many matching buttons as I could so I could make some for myself!
All the supplies, from the earring backs (you can even purchase the clip-on kind) to the special glue and even the vintage buttons, can be purchased online from Etsy or Craftumi (among other sites).  The store I have used before is here

 The strongest and best glue to use when making the earrings is E6000.  The glue does take a few days to fully set though, so although these are the ideal quick and easy DIY, you’d need to give yourself a few days before wearing or gifting them.

Do you love vintage buttons?  Which ones are your favourite in the pic above?

For more easy peasy gift ideas (for yourself or others!) you might like to check out my series on Simple Handmade Gifts for Girls or my recent post on Simple DIY Mother’s Day gift ideas.

Nine Simple DIY Mother’s Day gift ideas from FGB

1. Make some masala chai for one.  
We have made lots and lots of these tea sachets using seed packet sized envelopes purchased at office supply stores and I’d highly recommend, however I ordered some tea bags from the Haby Goddess last week and they arrived this morning.  I’m really excited to try out our masala chai for one recipe in the tea bags and also Jodie’s hot chocolate recipe which simply uses grated chocolate and marshmallows in the tea bags – yum!

2. Make your own flavoured Hot Chocolate.
As mentioned above, how cool would these be in tea bags?  
You’ll find the recipes for the ones we made below in this post.

3. Sew your own teatowel.

Cut a rectangle from linen/cotton blend fabric and give it a hem. I added a small piece of twill tape on mine to make a little fancier ;).  I’d love to find some plain linen/cotton fabric and get the kids to paint or draw with fabric paint or fabric markers.

4. Sew a Bag Bag (aka grocery bag holder)
You know those things you put your spare plastic bags in from the supermarket. 
For those times when you forget your green bag again! 

You’ll find a great bag-bag tutorial here. 
5. Decorate a Shopping Bag
In counteraction to the last suggestion, for those mothers who do actually remember their bags at the supermarket a little more regularly, decorating a calico shopping bag is something we love to do.  Whether it is apple printing, fabric paint or no-sew applique
6. Sew a Wheat Bag
The nights are getting colder here in Melbourne and our wheat bags are coming out every night.  Just a minute & a half in the microwave and the bed is nice and toasty.  There are some gorgeous corduroy fabrics around which are lovely and soft.  There is a tutorial here if you’d like to give these a try.  Perfect project for a beginner sewer.

7. Make some Fabric Covered Gift Cards
Here is a tutorial for how to make your own fabric covered cards.  I often give these away in a nice tin for the recipient to use whenever a card is required.

8. Fabric Covered Coat hangers
These babies are going to my Mum this year (don’t worry she’s already seen them – in fact I was making them for myself and she practically asked for them).  If you like my scruffy & tattered look, I followed this tutorial, however one step up from coathangers, impeccably made & not frayed or tattered in the slightest, my friend Jane from Planet Joy makes beautiful made to order Liberty fabric wrapped wire words.  (Sometimes it’s easier to buy handmade than to make yourself, right?)

9. Make a no-sew Upcycled Tshirt Scarf

For those of us who are a little time poor, but still love to dabble in a bit of creative DIY, if you already have the supplies on hand, perfect, otherwise the aforementioned ideas are all the kind of gifts you can grab the supplies for during the week and then whip up on Saturday ready for Mother’s Day on Sunday.  Seriously.  Quick and easy.  What Mum doesn’t love the extra special touch of handmade, right?  ;)
What are your thoughts on handmade gifts?  
Not worth the hassle?  Cheapskate?  You just can’t top handmade?  
Love handmade, but just prefer someone else to make it?

P.S. Addition (20/05/2013) – Thought I’d be a bit cheeky and come back later and add 3 more quick & easy DIY ideas to the list above… All things that we’ve made here at FGB headquarters…

10. Vintage Button Earrings
Just glue some earring backs on the back of some vintage buttons and you have some pretty funky earrings.  Details of suppliers in this post.

11. DIY bath bombs 
Fun & fizzy in the bath.  For step by step instructions on how we made these go to this post.

12. Peg magnets
Some origami paper stuck on a wooden clothes peg using double sided tape and magnetic strip attached to the back.

FGB Easter Crafts Collated.

You’ll have to wait a wee while longer for the big revealing of the rainbow birthday celebrations as Easter is just around the corner, so I thought I’d put together a wee collection of the Easter craft posts from the last few years here at FGB.  As with most things here on FGB, they are all quick and simple crafts and definitely manageable in less than a week if you are so inclined… bring on the school holidays and some Easter crafts! Click on the words above the photo to be taken to the original post.

Hot Chocolate in a Jar

Easter baskets made from recycled Soda bottles

An Easter Reflection Activity

I’ve also had the wonderful opportunity over the last little while to be working with Kidspot Village Voices and creating some tutorials on crafting with eggs for ‘Eggs Australia’.  I have collated these for you as well as nothing says ‘Easter’ like an egg!

Eggshell Succulent Garden

Eggshell Candles

Eggshell Fairy lights (yes, really, they are eggs!)

I’ve also been collecting lots of Easter craft ideas over on Pinterest also.
Are you planning on doing any last minute Easter crafting?

A little breather…

Sorry about the suspense folks.  I’m sure you’ve all been hanging out to see how the rainbow crafternoon turned out that I mentioned in my last post … back in January!!  Unfortunately a two month blogging break was necessary.  It seems that I am not quite as tough as I thought I was holding a party two days after moving into a new house and a few days before school started (with a new preppy) on top of 3 weekends away in a row and… and… and… I could go on, but I won’t.  Basically I crashed and burned and am slowly peeling myself off the floor.  So much for a ‘slow’ year with time to ‘breathe‘.  I ended up having such trouble doing so that I needed a trip to the GP for some medication to help me breathe a little more easily.  It seems pushing myself far too much for far too long is taking it’s toll and my body finally said ‘enough’!  Things are certainly looking up though and there is much to look forward to this year!  

My gorgeous daughter, Goose, whipped this nest up one afternoon in our backyard a few months ago and I loved it so much that I had to take some photos.  She’s a clever and creative girl that one.  She was asked recently what 3 words she would use to describe herself and she answered inventive, creative, bookworm.  She sure is and so much more!
We had a wonderful time at Goose’s 9th birthday party and I’m looking forward to sharing the pics with you next week.  I’ve got a couple of Easter posts planned for you in the meantime, so stay tuned!  It’s good to be back.  xo

A New Year… and some breathing space.

In this last week between Christmas and the new year, I’ve been doing lots of sleeping and more sleeping.  I’ve stopped.  I’ve had a quiet week.  I don’t generally do quiet weeks.  They just don’t really exist in my world.  There is just no room for them and I am the kind of person who likes to go, go, go, but it can take it’s toll on a person.  Granny had Goose for five days (they had a lovely camping trip together) Mr FGB was home, we pulled out of our planned holiday with a group of friends and we stopped (as much as is possible when life still keeps moving).  It was nice to breathe.

I can’t seem to start a new year without writing some kind of reflective post to bring in the new year.  It doesn’t seem right to move on without one.  You can find the last two year’s reflections here and hereI see many changes this year.  All positive.  I can’t wait! 

I feel like I’ve been swimming through deep water for a long time and just keeping my head afloat and slowly, slowly, I’ve been making my way through to the other side.  I’ve very much been head down with blinkers on for the last four years just to survive.  Focusing on one foot after the other.  Having my last two kids just over a year apart, having just moved back to Melbourne with a husband working ridiculous hours along with our Mums both losing their husbands within the following 9 months very nearly killed me.  I’ve been slowly, slowly coming back from that place and I now feel like I can look up and see the world around me.  So I’m now at a place where maybe I can spend a little less time wading through the water that at one time was threatening to drown me and just have a rest on the shore line every now and then.

I have high hopes that this year will be a much needed breath of fresh air.  

2013 – one word.  I’m not so much into New Years resolutions, but I like to give each year a word.  I’ve had the year of ‘me’ (2010) which turned out the be the year of ‘exhaustion’, the year of ‘survival’ (2011) and last year (2012) started off as ‘balance’ which seemed far too unattainable and ended up as the year to ‘shine’.  This year the word that sums up my hopes for the year is ‘breathe’.

slow down.
self nurture.  
say yes to my kids and no to others.
space – physical space and head space.
breathing room.

This year I need to breathe.  To take the time to be able to inhale and exhale fully.  

This year there is actually potential for this to happen. I’ll have more physical space and room as we are moving house at the end of the month.  (a quick, but necessary, decision to move to larger quarters – more on that later).  I’m cutting down on a lot of external activities.  Bear goes off to school this year and Frog to four year old kinder leaving me two whole days (well, two whole six hour school days – that’s twelve hours - I‘ve been longing for that for 9 years!)  People have been asking me what I will do with myself – my list is a mile long!   I’m under no illusion.  Life will still be busy.  I like it that way to a certain extent, but my aim is to be a less cranky Mum and maybe, just maybe feel like I’m a little more on top of things and not forever chasing my tail and feeling overwhelmed.  

We have a month of ‘slow’ ahead of us with no routine and more family time, lots of sunshine and sleep-ins.  Of course in all of that we’re still moving house and celebrating a nine year old birthday in there… so not too slow.  Our slow.


What are your plans for 2013?  

Do you have a word for each year like me?

P.S. These photos of our family were taken by my lovely & talented friend Susannah on a fun and relaxing morning last month. If you’d like some photos taken of you & your fam and you live in Melbourne – she’s your gal!

Make your own Bon Bons

We have been making our own bon bons (aka Christmas crackers) for as long as I can remember.  It has become a firmly planted tradition which I have carried on with my children.  We put different things in every year.  You can have a squiz at what we did last year and the year before.  This year I made bon bons for a few different Christmas functions.  I’ve put different things in each lot to suit the occasion.

BON BONS # 1: For “Christmas with Dad” there were only 12 of us so it was easy enough to just purchase an individual gift to pop inside to suit each person.  That way you don’t need to find gifts that suit all ages and genders.  Mini lego figurine packs for the 5 kids, lip balm for the 3 ladies and fake moustaches & eyebrows for the 4 men along with a lindt choc ball, a conversation starter and a snap.  Of course, I had to name each one then which quite frankly is probably not worth the bother.

BON BONS #2: For “Christmas with Mum” I found a pack of plasticine at the supermarket for $1 that happened to have 12 sticks of different coloured plasticine.  I popped one in each, along with a tissue paper hat*, a hershey’s kiss**, a bad Christmas joke and a snap.

The kids (and adults) had lots of fun creating plasticine masterpieces at the table.

BON BONS #3: Then for Christmas Day, when we’ll be having a lovely traditional lunch with Mr FGB’s family, I purchased a mixture of small gifts (that I hope will suit all ages, but if not they can always swap!) along with the usual chocolate, hat and snap and some conversation starters.

This year I’m reusing some conversation starters that I used last year.  Sometimes you need a bit of help to get some life into the party and other times it’s just a great time to promote reflection and unity around the table. 

It’s not Christmas unless…..
In 10 years’ time, at Christmas…………………
The smell that reminds me of Christmas is………….
Christmas shopping is………….
Christmas carols make me……..
At Christmas I………….
My favourite Christmas tradition is………
The strangest Christmas gift I have ever received was………..
The best Christmas gift I have ever received was………
Since last Christmas I have………
My earliest Christmas memory……..
The day after Christmas I………….
The best place to buy Christmas gifts is…………….
My Mum always told me………..
In the coming year, I’d love to………
Christmas is………
Would you like a full tutorial (for next year) on how to make your own bonbons FGB style?  Or do you think it is self explanatory enough?  

Do you make your own bonbons?  What do you put inside?

*’coz there had been complaints the previous week that they had not been included! – apparently it’s “just not Christmas without them” ;)  xo

**leftover from the recent princess party where we gave chocolate kisses and lolly frogs for the party favours.  Speaking of Hershey’s kisses.  If you like to go the extra mile – I did see some Christmas printables that you can stick on the bottom of a hershey’s kiss… over here.

Clare’s Christmas Parfait

My sister Clare made the most deliciously simple dessert for our (early) Christmas dinner at Mum’s on the weekend and it was so scrumptious that I had to share! 


Layer 1: 
Raspberry jelly
Layer 2: 
Strawberry jelly
Layer 3: 
Jalna Vanilla Yoghurt
Layer 4: 
Raspberries & chopped strawberries
Layer 5: 
Layer 6: 
Another dollop of yoghurt
Layer 7: 
Toasted almond flakes
Layer 8: 
Red currants to decorate

She also made a fun Christmas salad the next day that I just had to share with you as well!  She’s a clever cookie that one.

How creative do you get with your food at Christmas time?

For more easy Christmas (and rest of the year) recipes from FGB you can head over here.

For the Blokes – Mugstaches & Reinbeer

Goose has a male teacher this year.  A cool young one that she loves and who plays Beatles songs on his guitar at the end of every day.  

We didn’t think that the Cookies in a Jar that her siblings gave their female kinder teachers would quite be his style, so drawing on inspiration from father’s day, she decided to make him a mo mug with a little note on the back from her.  I know that mugs are probably the most common ‘teacher gift’ on the planet, but apparently he loved the personal touch!  We also whipped up some more for some KK gifts for this weekend.

We filled our mugs with some timtam balls for something new.  I got nothing but thumbs up from my taste testers, but I still think that my chocolate truffles are even better.  I’d recommend either recipe for a failsafe, ‘no-cook’ treat that the kids can pretty much do on their own.* 

Sticking with our current reindeer obsession, for one of our Christmas parties this weekend, inspired by some seen on pinterest and the fact that we already had the supplies, we made some reinbeer!

I purchased a beer with a red label to ‘match’ the reindeer, but you could purchase any drink you desired, non alcoholic or otherwise, remove the label and replace it with your own labels.  I made the labels below in about 5 minutes using this awesome and free beer label site to go with the next batch.  You just change the wording on their predesigned labels, et voila!

I find shopping for gifts for men extremely difficult.  Finding a handmade gift for men, even harder!  I managed to draw the male straw in almost every kriskringle this year.  

Do you have the same difficulty?  
What are you giving the men in your life this year for Christmas?

*when I say ‘pretty much’, i really mean that they could ‘easily’ do it themselves, unless like mine they didn’t want to get their fingers messy and really couldn’t be bothered, but were quite happy to partake in the eating once Mum had finished making them all!

Snow Globes…

I love snow globes.  I find it mesmerising to sit and watch the flakes fall.  We usually make our snow globes with glitter, but this time we tried using eggshells for the snow.  If you’d like to make your own – head over to my tutorial over at Village Voices.  It’s much easier than you’d think!  Something I love to do at this time of year is to pop a credit card style gift card inside a handmade snow globe for a bit of fun to brighten up a potentially boring gift.  

Do you give gift cards at Christmas?  What do you think of them?  
Cop out or best present ever as you get to choose something that you actually want?

Reindeers & the Class Gift

In Prep, Goose made her own Christmas cards for her class mates at school and really enjoyed making them.  She loves that kind of thing.  But getting her to write ‘Merry Christmas love Goose’ 24 times was like drawing blood from a stone, so in the years since we have tried something different…that didn’t involve writing!  

In Grade 1 she made reindeer food for her friends, in Grade 2 she made reindeer noses and this year she made candy cane reindeers.  We may have a theme…

To make a candy cane reindeer you will need some mini red pom poms, some mini googly eyes, some brown pipecleaners and some candy canes.  Spotlight has red pom poms and googly eyes in a whole range of sizes as well as brown pipecleaners.  I’m sure they could be purchased at your craft supply store.

She glued on the eyes and nose with craft glue and then twisted the pipecleaners around a pencil to get the curly effect, before twisting them around the top of the candy cane.
 Bear, not to miss out, has been following suit and last year made reindeer food for his friends at kinder.  This year we made 50 bags of reindeer food, because now that she is a kinder kid too, Frog had to do the same!  

It is simply rolled oats, mixed with glitter, bagged with a free printable on the top.  
These gorgeous reindeer food printables came from Anders Ruff design.

I’d been planning on waiting to give out the reindeer food in the last week of kinder, but unfortunately one of her kinder friends pipped her at the post and handed out reindeer food on Monday.  I’m sure the reindeers will appreciate 2 lots of food right?!

And because I loved the reindeer noses so much last yearI had to make lots of them just to have on hand to give to friends over the Christmas period.  8 maltesers and a jaffa with a cool tag on the top.  

These ones were designed by my very clever friend Caroline, a fellow ‘kinder’ Mum,  who very kindly let me use her design.  They even have the names of the reindeers on the back – gorgeous – thanks Caroline Caroline is talented in many ways and also has her very own store on madeit where she sells beautiful dolls & accessories, called ‘Madebyme’.  She is also selling her reindeer nose printables at the moment.  I highly recommend a look!

While we’re on the topic of reindeers, how cute are these reindeer biscuits that someone brought to a Christmas party we were at last week?

Do your kids make a class gift, give a cards or candy canes?   or do you just think I am a little mad* and merely adding to the pressure at this already busy time?!

* I probably am, but this is the stuff that the kids and I love about Christmas time and we just want to share the fun!  

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